Lunch at Grassa, Portland, OR

We came here under G’s recommendation. It’s very similar to Il Corvo but with way more pasta options, less of a line, and equally good homemade pasta. Since there were 5 of us we got a few things to share:

March 2016
Squid ink tonnarelli with whipped ricotta. Very good, but not the best of the lot. The squid ink flavour of the noodles was pretty much masked by the tomato based sauce. Otherwise the prawns were fresh and the whipped ricotta was a nice touch.

March 2016
Spicy tomato radiatore with fried chicken skin – the chicken skin crackling was amazing! All pastas should be garnished with this immediately! Don’t really remember much else about the pasta sauce etc :P Just your standard tomato based I guess.

March 2016
Cacio and pepe with truffle butter tagliatelle – one of their simplest ones but also the most satisfying – just truffle flakes, salt, and freshly ground pepper. The serving was a little large so this got a little ‘gelat’ after a bit but is okay if you eat it with their fritti misti:

March 2016
Lots of calamari and deep fried lemon. There’s also deep fried parsley and battered fish. The batter was light and salty, quite a good replica of what you get on the Italian coast (only with a smaller variety of seafood in the mix). The fried lemon was a nice surprise, this bowl was demolished in <5 minutes. If you come with 5 people I recommend 2 orders of this!

Of course, nearly everything on their menu is seasonal so don't count on the exact same things being there. That said, everything we ordered was delicious so you don't have to tread too carefully. On the other hand I think their pasta sauces are quite average and they really rely on certain garnishes or protein to make the dish pop, unlike Il Corvo who is excellent at making novel and delicious sauces for their pasta, sometimes without any protein at all (but copious amounts of butter :P).

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